Cumberland County’s many bodies of water are known to be teeming with catfish, bass, sunfish, and more. In fact, a Fayetteville resident still holds the state record for the largest flathead catfish ever caught (78 pounds), right on the Cape Fear River. The trick is knowing where to cast your line. To aid our visitors in locating our prized fishing holes and hunting sites, the Fayetteville Area Convention & Visitors Bureau (FACVB) compiled a handy list and a map of over 30 destinations on the Fish & Game Trail. Here we are sharing three popular fishing spots from the trail that are scattered around Cumberland County’s communities.
Smith Lake Recreation Area, Fort Bragg
Among the many ponds and lakes found on this large military base, Smith Lake is certainly one of the most popular. Camping, mountain-biking, hiking, and wake-boarding are the other activities that draw folks to this recreational area. Visitors can fish on the north side of the lake, and non-motorized watercraft are permitted on the water in a designated area. (Be advised, to fish anywhere on base, you must have both a North Carolina state license and a Fort Bragg fishing license, which can be obtained at the Fort Bragg Wildlife office.)
Lake Waldo’s Beach, Town of Hope Mills
Locals and visitors alike look forward to this recreational area reopening on Memorial Day every year. For a fee, you may spend a perfect summer day swimming, picnicking, canoeing, paddle-boating, and fishing here. The boat ramp and Jon boat rentals make getting out on the water easy, and you have a good chance of catching crappie, sunfish, catfish, and bass on this lake. The park also offers a RV campground, open year-round. (Note: After publication of this blog, we were informed that the dam at Lake Waldo’s Beach had washed out and left the lake empty. Until it can be repaired, however, visitors are still able to enjoy the other facilities, such as the swimming pool and campgrounds.)
John E. Pechmann Fishing Education Center, City of Fayetteville
This unique site, built in 2007, is operated by the NC Wildlife Resources Commission and is the only fishing education center of its kind in the state. The center’s mission is to educate the public through fishing programs, exhibits, clinics, and public fishing events. One such event is their annual Youth Fishing Day in June, when they set out to inspire the love of fishing in children.
Before embarking on your fishing trip here, brush up on North Carolina’s fishing laws and purchase or renew your fishing license on the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission site. To read more about the above-listed fishing spots and discover others, check out the Fish & Game Trail, one of many Cultural Heritage Trails provided by the FACVB. Additionally, the FACVB provides a year-round Calendar of Events that highlights a wide range of outdoor events and fun things to do in Cumberland County.